Your retirement years are your reward for a life of honest hard work, and the chance for you to do all the things you may not have had time to do in your working years.
With so much free time it’s likely you’ll start to think about all the possible improvements you can make to your home, some of which you’ll have been dreaming of for years. Home improvements are so popular with over 55s that it is the most common reason people take out equity release plans in their later years according to latest figures.
The average equity release figure currently stands at over £80,000, so you can see why people are increasingly using comparison sites like equityrelease.co.uk to find the best plan to achieve this financial freedom.
If you are worried about having enough money to spend when you retire then you can use the value of your house to your advantage. A reverse mortgage will allow you to access a percentage of that value and control both how you receive the funds and how you spend them. All you have to do is obtain the loan from a reverse-loan lender. You will then receive the money you need, typically in monthly installments until you reach the limit of the amount you are allowed to borrow. For as long as you continue to use the home as a primary residence your loan cannot be called in. However, you or your family will be required to pay the balance in full if you pass away or move out of the home. Alternatively, the home can be sold in order for the lender to recover the money you borrowed upon your death or absence from the home.
There are a number of interesting and cost-effective tips to improving your home in retirement, and in this blog we’ll look at some of the best that we recommend for shoring up your castle.
Tip #1 – Energy Efficiency
What if we told you that there are easy improvements you could make that would save you money in the long run, whilst also increasing the value of your property?
Making your home as energy efficient as possible may not sound like the most exciting way to start enjoying retirement, but we promise it will be worth it to see your energy bills reduced and your property value all the better for it.
First, you should ensure all your windows are fitted with A-rated double glazing which reduces heat loss through the glass itself. The Energy Saving Trust estimate that you could save up to £160 a year on your annual bills through this sole action.
The next step to a perfectly insulated home is to ensure your external doors and letter boxes are insulated and well draught-proofed. By installing A-rated external doors you could save up to £35 a year on your bills, so this makes another no-brainer for keeping your home warm and bringing down your annual cost of living.
Best of all, these energy efficiency measures have been reported by government figures to increase the value of your home by 14% on average, even as high as 38% in some cases! This stand-out factor surely makes using your spare time and cash to make your home as energy efficient as possible.
Tip #2 – New Appliances
Sometimes we keep hold of our old appliances because they still work, are familiar, and above all “get the job done.” However, we often neglect to think of the implications that these old and outdated technologies can have on our bills and the environment.
One of the biggest advantages to new appliances is their effect on your energy bills. By buying new and more energy efficient appliances you can shave £££s off your monthly electricity bill whilst also enjoying the advantages of all the latest technology on offer today.
Another important factor to consider is the size of your appliances. If you still have a large fridge freezer fit for a family, but you now live alone or with your partner, you could end up forking out a huge amount for fridge/freezer space you don’t actually need. Not only that, but if this is an old and uneconomical model you’ll end up with a double whammy of unneeded energy costs.
If you’re looking to make your home as efficient and reliable as you can in retirement, your next port of call is to think about replacing your boiler. Not only could you save upwards of £350 a year with an energy efficient boiler, an old boiler model runs the high risk of an eventual breakdown.
In your later years the reliability of your heating and hot water should be a priority, therefore it is paramount you have the peace of mind that you have modern trustworthy equipment backing you up in your home.
Tip #3 – Outdoor Decking
A great way to add extra value to your property whilst also creating a useful and aesthetically pleasing living space is outdoor decking.
By transforming a section of your garden into a purpose built area for both relaxing and entertaining you can make the most of your available outdoor-space without breaking the bank.
Decks offer a versatile space that allow you to host memorable BBQs, social gatherings, and events with family and friends whilst offering a comfortable raised area where you can relax in the sunshine during the warmer months. As well as a host of uses, decks also come in a range of sizes and styles; there is always an option that would perfectly suit your home and garden, whatever the size.
With even high-end professional-built decks costing a fraction per square foot of an indoor room, house decking offers the most cost effective option for sprucing up your home and improving your quality of life.
The more DIY enthusiastic can also maintain or even construct these wooden decks themselves using a range of guides available both in print and online – bringing the costs down further still.
Tip #4 – Fix the little jobs ASAP
It is imperative that in your early retirement years you don’t overlook the small jobs that you’ve been putting off for months or even years that you know need to be tackled sooner rather than later.
These small jobs can easily become big jobs if it’s something that could potentially get worse such as a small leak in a pipe, an overflowing gutter, a loose hinge on a door or simply a bit of touch-up painting.
As you get older you may lose the energy to do these jobs and they could grow even worse still over time, so it’s important you tackle them early whilst you can and whilst they are manageable.
In short, don’t let a small job become an ignored and costly task in your later years that you can no longer do yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy the rest of your retirement knowing your home is watertight, safe, and looking its best so you can relax and plan the things you really want to do, not the ones you need to.